Another known unknown: Frank Lloyd Wright’s “The Research Tower”

North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges and several unidentified men pose in front of the globe on the grounds of S. C. Johnson and Sons Company in early May 1958. Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect for The Research Tower, opened in 1950, seen in the background. Photograph by Hugh Morton, May 1 or 2, 1958.

North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges and several unidentified men pose in front of the globe on the grounds of S. C. Johnson and Sons Company in early May 1958. Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect for The Research Tower, opened in 1950, seen in the background. Photograph by Hugh Morton, May 1 or 2, 1958.

Another serendipitous discovery unveiled itself last Friday afternoon, and so another Morton Mystery has been solved.  (Well at least partially, and not all by itself; I had to do some digging.)  Yesterday and today just so happen to be the fifty-ninth anniversary of the event depicted, so I’m afraid there’s not time for me to do an extensive story.  So I present the images “as is” with a bit of background.  We can all contribute to the story and possible identifications in the comments for this post.

Last Friday while I was examining 120 format negatives in the Morton collection, I saw an envelope labeled “Gov. Hodges — Racine, Wisc. (factory visit)” with a date of May 2, 1958.  As I looked through the negatives I immediately recognized one of the images as being very similar to a color slide (below), which happens to be in the online collection.

Until now, the description of this photograph was "NC Governor Luther H. Hodges being greeted by men, probably at a hotel. Taken on "industry hunting" trip with Hodges administration, circa 1960, possibly to Chicago or New York." There are twenty-two slides in the collection with similar captions, now known to be erroneous.

Until now, the description of this photograph was “NC Governor Luther H. Hodges being greeted by men, probably at a hotel. Taken on “industry hunting” trip with Hodges administration, circa 1960, possibly to Chicago or New York.” There are twenty-two slides in the collection with similar captions, now known to be erroneous.

After looking at all the color slides in that group, a bit of sleuthing led to the discovery that the event was a trip taken by Governor Luther Hodges and several North Carolina businessmen to Chicago with a side trip to Racine, Wisconsin.  Morton made the slide immediately above at the S. C. Johnson and Sons headquarters, probably inside The Administrative Building (built 1936 through 1939) or possibly The Research Tower (built 1944 through 1950).  The buildings are on the list of United States National Historic Landmarks and the United States Register of Historic Places.  Can anyone determine which building interior this?  Any Frank Lloyd Wright experts out there who can help us identify the rest of these images with more specificity? I’m a Frank Lloyd Wright fan (but by no means an expert!) and it’s killing me that I cannot spend more time researching them.

There are twenty-two slides in the lot, and you may examine nine of the “Industry Mission” slides online.  (The slide above is not in the online collection.)  The slides also include scenes of the emissaries’ visit to the Case Corporation factory, also in Racine, where the company made Case-o-matic tractors.  Below is a slide depicting some of travelers along with Governor Hodges, probably at Case.  This image currently is not in the online collection.

Luther Hodges and group, probably during its tour in Racine, Wisconsin. As slide 21 of 22, it's likely at the Case Corporation plant, but the entirety of their tour has not yet been researched. Slide 22 has a hand-written label "Industry Hunting."

Luther Hodges and group, probably during its tour in Racine, Wisconsin. As slide 21 of 22, it’s likely at the Case Corporation plant, but the entirety of their tour has not yet been researched. Slide 22 has a hand-written label “Industry Hunting.”

The following links are to PDF’s of news articles and announcements found thus far:

The_Racine_Journal_Times_Sunday_Bulletin_Sun__Apr_13__1958_

The_Racine_Journal_Times_Sunday_Bulletin_Sun__Apr_27__1958_

The_Gastonia_Gazette_Fri__May_2__1958_

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